Jan. 9, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - The University of Pittsburgh men's track and field team is preseason ranked No. 25, according to the U.S Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) computer projections which were released late Tuesday evening.
The USTFCCCA rankings are based largely on the top returners from each school and early performances from this season. Pitt is the only Big East team represented in the Top-25.
"This means a lot to the program because it represents that we are getting back to competing on the national level," head coach Alonzo Webb said. "This team is motivated and they are excited about the ranking, however, we think we can be higher by the end of the year. This is also exciting heading into the ACC to let them know we are going to be a player next year too. We are not satisfied of course, because we are trying to get better every day. We use that mantra and I think it is paying off for them."
Pitt has returned a host of talent this season, led by hurdler Tashaun Hill, along with sprinters Micah Murray, Daniel O'Toole, Brycen Spratling, Reginald Steele IV and Aaron Turner. Newcomers Carvin Nkanata, Dustin Fuller and Josh Mindlin will also make an impact this season. Luke Gallaher is back in the high jump after a stellar freshman campaign, while Matt Dallago Benjamin Hatch and Luke Swomley will anchor the mid to long distance.
The Panthers have found success in their first two meets this season. The first was at the Golden Flash Gala at Kent State prior to winter break, while their second meet was last weekend at the Penn State Relays. Pitt will head back to State College this weekend for the Nittany Lion Challenge.
Arkansas holds the top spot, while the defending National Champions, the Florida Gators, are second. Texas, Texas A&M and Oregon round out the Top-5.